SQ744: Vote NO on State Question 744

It is easy to say “no” to just about anything that someone thinks is bad. It is equally easy to vote yes on something that appears to be good. In fact, the whole argument is wrapped up in the definition of good and bad. Advocates and detractors alike by their very nature define the terms while speaking. State Question 744 is no exception.

Advocates will say “Don’t you want money for our children’s’ education?, How can you be against children?” Detractors will say “It’s another unfunded mandate that will indebt the public even further and weaken the state’s ability to fund current programs and services.”

They are both right. State Question 744 will mandate that the State of Oklahoma spend the same average level per student on education as our surrounding neighbors; so, there will be more funding for education in a broader sense. SQ744 also mandates that if those averages rise then so must Oklahoma’s; however if the averages fall the rate remains the same and so, it will become an unaffordable mandate.

At best SQ744 will provide monies for education in the same way that the lottery provides monies for education; some money gets to the kids, but the bulk goes elsewhere and it all comes from the same people already being taxed to the limit. At worst, SQ744 ties us to the surrounding states without regard to whether or not Oklahoma can afford it year after year or if the surrounding states are worth becoming attached to. After all Kansas is the second worst in unfunded pensions for government employees, is that the kind of organization we want to compare ourselves to?

I am not paid by any advocacy group or other political entity; I am simply stating what should be plain to see. If you think I am wrong, read the ballot for yourself:


State Question No. 744 Initiative Petition No. 391

The measure repeals a Section of the State Constitution. The repealed section required the Legislature annually to spend $42.00 for each common school student. Common schools offer pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.

The measure also adds a new Article to the Constitution. It sets a minimum average amount the State must annually spend on common schools. It requires the State to spend annually, no less than the average amount spent on each student by the surrounding states. Those surrounding states are Missouri, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Colorado and New Mexico. When the average amount spent by surrounding states declines, Oklahoma must spend the amount it spent the year before.

The measure deals with money spent on day-to-day operations of the schools and school districts. This includes spending on instructions, support services and non-instruction services. The measure does not deal with money spent to pay debt, on buildings or on other capital needs.

The measure requires that increased spending begin in the first fiscal year after its passage. It requires that the surrounding state average be met in the third fiscal year after passage.

The measure does not raise taxes, nor does it provide new funding for the new spending requirements.




One Response to “SQ744: Vote NO on State Question 744”
  1. After seeing several misleading campaign adds for this proposition, I wanted to add another thought about this state question. Do any of the proponents realize that it wouldn’t take much to get another state in our “region” to set up a similar law and thus throw us into a infinite feedback loop? For example, if Kansas setup a law requiring their spending to increase when ours did, and then we require an increase when they did and when Texas did; at the first increase of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas would be locked into a ever increasing spending spiral. Just a little more food for thought.

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